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tv   Earth Focus  LINKTV  July 24, 2014 1:30am-2:01am PDT

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>> today on "earth focus," many of our food crops depend on honeybees for pollination, but bees are disappearing, and now there is new evidence why. coming up on "earth focus." bees, the essential pollinators for many of our major crops, have been dying off in massive numbers since 2006 and they are continuing to die. britain's our food supply and could threaten the u.s. economy -- this threatens our food supply and could threaten the u.s. economy. of anis the underpinning
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entire agricultural system. when you pull out that underpinning, you see the collapse of an entire agricultural system. >> i think we are at the tipping point. we are one or two years away from disaster. >> evidence has grown that a new class of pesticides called charles annenberg weingarten -- be -- despiteay warning that they may be toxic to bees. this is used on nearly all american crops, including corn. the epa says there is no evidence that it is improperly used, but environmentalists disagree. but the government slowed to act, bees continue to die.
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>> one of every three is directly dependent on the honey bee. >> that includes a crops like apples, cherries, cucumbers, pockets. thatlso includes hay crops support the dairy and meat industries. pollination is essential to local economies. california's, an industry is an example. >> almonds are a cash crop. we export them abroad. they rely on honeybee is to produce that not to each year. it is in over $3 billion a year business. without bees, the allman process
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does not exist. the ability to transport around the globe does not exist. the transport change from the be to the beekeeper to the trucker -- all of those points of our current food system come back to the bee. vanished? the bees growers would be confined to three crops. wheat, rice, and corn, crops that do not require bees for pollination. the impact on the economy and the consumer could be profound. --lines in the populations bee populations are not new. in the u.s., they have been slowly decreasing for some time. in the last 50 years, the amount of money produced has fallen by 50%.
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the epa says the prevailing theory is the decline of help in honeybees in general -- held in honeybees in general -- health in honey beans in general, are the result of multiple stressors. >> in past six years, we have lost somewhere between 4.5000012 million colonies. and 12 million colonies. >> we saw something new, massive called colony collapsed disorder. >> it is a situation where you have a handful up bees left, and without a young brood, the queen is still trying to play, but the adults of all disappeared. >> the foragers go out and bring the pollen back to the high end the sustainability of
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the hive going were not returning to the hives. >> typically if a high of guys come out -- if a hive dies, there will be a few straggler bees. these were just wiped clean. >> the first to call attention to colony collapse this order one of thehackenburg, u.s. commercial distributors. 2006, with good looking at beehives in october, three weeks later, i am back down there, same location. yard and started looking at these bees, and there was nobody home. of 400 hives, there were only
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30-some that even look like beehives any more. where did the bees go? >> ," seen in my own operation. ," seen a significant decline in the number of colonies -- i have seen it in my own operation. i have seen a significant decline in the number of colonies i am able to keep alive. it reflects what is going on nationally. one out of every three u.s. honey bee colonies was lost during the winter of 2010-2011, but some beekeepers say the losses are much higher. >> our losses over the year are running 50% to 80%. unsustainable. if you are strictly a honey producer and this is your job, you cannot survive and they are not surviving. >> why are usda reports so low?
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it could be because the survey was based on data reported by only 20% of u.s. beekeepers and because it included only winter and full year losses. >> that is a very narrow snapshot of win bees die. when we look at the full picture, we understand webee losses are substantial and continual on the -- we understand that the bee losses are substantial and continuing on the downward trend. haveate regulators do not to report incidents, giving epa the defense that few incidents are reported. other epa critics say that's bee incidents are not entered into the database or are senate does management. when asked to comment, and epa issued a statement saying "we are aware of no incidents in
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which states of withheld test incidents data. the epa has tested extensively to provide information about pesticides and we are encouraging incident reporting." >> it is my experience that the working level people in the epa for the most part want to do the proper thing, they want to carry out their responsibilities. i think what we are seeing is a massive failure at the management level, and i think it is time to remove some of these people from their jobs. >> colony collapsed disorder is not confined to the u.s.. it is also reported in canada, europe, south and central america, and parts of asia. worldpers around the began to connect the pesticides to the vanishing bees.
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began with aoss pesticide that is sold in france aspects gaucho. french]king dern 2008, germany's iniegel reported bee deaths prime agricultural areas. many beekeepers pointed the finger to a pesticide. >> ," lay awake many nights thinking, what is going on here? changes are coming.
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this is systemic. in that time when they started getting more and more and more of this stuff, they were mute. --neo nick a titillates make all pollen toxic to insects. >> they are transferred to all portions of the plant, so any insect that shoes on that plant is affected by the insecticide. >> it is a chemical that causes exposure constantly. >> they are related to nicotine and are neurotoxins, or nerve poisons, that attack insect nervous systems, causing paralysis and eventually death. >> charles annenberg weingarten -- clothianidin is very toxic to bees.
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trillion is very toxic. in some cases it can kill them outright. in some cases, it can compromise their immune system, the navigation abilities, their memories. >> it is linked to disorientation, the inability of bees to communicate, the inability of queen bees to reproduce. >> it disrupts the delicate balance between the honey bee and its environment. they may fly out and die. they may fly out and not be able to find their way home again. >> this is colony class disorder at its core. neonicotinoids manufactured by the german chemical giants bayer are widely used in agriculture as well as
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home gardens. they are engineered to be easier to use than older generation pesticides, and they are also longer lasting and a thought to be less toxic to wildlife. some scientists say that neo nictinoids are more toxic to bees and the leader in soil and water for years. in 2009.e banned it it has also been banned in slovenia and italy. what we saw was a rebound of the bees in those countries. >> charles annenberg weingarten -- clothianidin is not banned in the united states. however, is that
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epa has cited a provision in our federal pesticide law that allows us to conditionally registered pesticides. it is that discretion to allow pesticides on the market prior to having a full battery of tests to make safety determinations that is problematic. >> this loophole allows companies to sell a pesticide before epa gets all the safety data, and that is precisely what happens with clothianidin. >> epa registered chemical without having full knowledge of what its impacts on bees would be, and said we would do a study with the manufacturer, bayer, but in the meantime, we will allow this pesticide on the market. those are concerned about the affect of
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clothianidin wanted to test it in the natural setting. instead, the epa allowed bayer to conduct the study on its own product a year later. clothianidin was already in use on a 88 million acres of u.s. crop -- u.s. crops. bayer completed the study in 2007. in 2010, the agency reversed itself and from the study to be insufficient. tom theobald saw where it fell short. >> it consisted of putting four colonies on two and a half acres of crops, the seed treated with clothianidin. is completely disregarded is the fact that the colony upper bees, over several thousand acres, it was the key
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study upon which conditional registration was granted to clothianidin, and it has failed to satisfy the requirements of registration. >> epa called for a new field of study, when that may take years to complete. is epa told "earth focus" it working to develop suitable designs for pollinators studies and peer review for future pollination studies, a process that will allow the agency to pursue more rigorous testing of pesticides and other impacts on pollinators. for some beekeepers, this may be too little, too late. >> this is where epa has gone wrong, because you know, they were created to protect the environment. in the way.s gotten i mean, we have gotten --
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somehow we got the cart before the horse. >> when you take a situation where you know a chemical is highly toxic to a bee and the colonies, and you allow all that chemical to be put on the market place without having complete answers to the impact it will have on bee health, you are not doing your job as a federal regulator. >> i do not know why they are allowing clothianidin on the market. i have a suspicion, as any reasonable person would, and that is a return of about $1 billion a year to the chemical industry. lobby isemical pervasive in d.c. that influence is quite strong in direct lobbying and actually in campaign contributions. >> those who have a vested interest and the money are able to influence the regulatory, the
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statutory and regulatory decisions that are made. as a result, we end up with a system that does not ask about the essentiality of reducing these chemicals. does not ask if we need these chemicals. it says we can create a threshold of acceptable hazard and not worry about anything else. >> epa officials deny that neonicotinoids are responsible for colony collapse disorder and told "earth focus" we are aware that these pesticides cause colony collapse disorder. it is widely agreed among scientists that individual stressors in combination are the most relevant factors in honeybee colony lost. the pesticide industry conducts its own studies, but shows that
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cannot have long term effects on bees. taking a page out of the handbook of big tobacco. enoughs, we will create uncertainty, nothing happens. so, what they say is, we cannot say anything about it. we need more research before anything can be done. big tobacco did this for years and years. we now see the same things with bees and pesticides. >> what the link between colony collapse disorder and pesticides has not been proven, over 100 independent studies, studies not funded by the pesticide industry, show that
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neonicotinoids have acute effects on bees. >> the body of evidence that has come forward barely conclusively said that pesticides, alone and in combination with other factors are leading to this or, thebee decline collapse disorder. >> two journal reports show what nic ns to bees exposed to eonicotinoids. bees grow more strongly -- broke less strongly. strongly.less honey bees come into contact throughnicotinoids
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pollen and nectar. >> there is a third avenue, droplets' exuded by the plant's, andy bees will use that as a moisture soars. those are very high in systemics and will kill the bees out right. >> when you were looking at exposure in this massive decline in colony held, you have to look at corn treated with neonicotinoid pesticides. atbellies 90% of the -- least 90% of the corn in united states was treated with this pesticide. that is a substantial number. need bees.n't
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unfortunately, corn has a lot of pollen. when corn pollinates in late july and august, corn is flying through the air. you can watch a beehive that is not even sitting in the cornfield breathing in corn pollen. it is like a magnet. it absorbs -- that is the way it was developed. it goes to the plant, get that pollen, moves it from that plant to the next plan to cross pollinate. so, that's bee is flying through the air or a visiting the corn because it is looking for pollen. it is bringing back the pollen from that corn plant. to the hive. loaded with lots of, you know, lots of things. >> here we have a situation pesticides,th most
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there is stripped from the target site. what we are seeing is the from's -- there is adrift the target site. what you're seeing is there could be dandelions, plants by the side of the road also picking up this chemical as a systemic and also expressing contaminated pollen. virginia university researchers recently found that dust carries a highly concentrated doses of neonicotinoids that can be fatal to bees. >> there are a lot of farmers who really do not want that stuff, but they do not have choices, because that is the way the system has become. >> when farmers go to purchase seeds from a seed supplier, they are forced to bite seeds that have been treated with these products. >> this is a money-making thing.
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it is what is good for the seed company and the pesticide company making the product. >> unfortunately, insurance companies, banks, the u.s. department of agriculture has promoted this acceleration of the use of pesticides on corn. they have created blanket insurance policies that make it easier and actually promote the use of widespread, a wide scale use of pesticides. farmers cannot get as good insurance policies or rates unless they apply them. tothe farmers become serfs the system. they are working for the company store. if they use these products for more than a few years, they now have soil that is virtually in hurt. if they want to grow anything, -- that is virtually inert. if they want to grow anything, they have to go to the seed
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company. this is the old company's store model on a grand scale. thenless the epa is given opportunity and faces increased public pressure, it is unlikely the agency will take necessary steps to protect our bees. >> and public pressure to protect the bees is growing. >> recently over 250,000 people from across the country sent a clear message to the environmental protection agency that they need to take immediate action to phase out or suspend the use of these pesticides,id specifically clothianidin. the message that came back from the epa was, we are not listening. >> [speaking foreign language] principalcautionary
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followed in most of the european countries as we err on the side of caution. here in united states, it seems to be the other way around. what the epa and the chemical companies up done has turned the environment into the experiments, and the people of become guinea pigs. we are experimental animals. >> bees are symptoms of something larger. a broken federal regulatory system that fails to provide protection for us and our food. >> we are on a crash course. i think the bees and their demise is that message to us. >> my grand kids and their kids -- are we going to be able to fix this before, you know -- i do not have any answer.
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>> [applause] >> [speaking in different languages] hmm. many people often ask me, "what does the pulse stand for in world pulse?" for me, it absolutely symbolizes this electric pulse of women's voices, rising across the earth, and i'm so feeling this today. what i want you to know about me, to be absolutely

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